Miami-Dade Sen. Annette Taddeo is endorsing St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice for Mayor.
Taddeo is a notable state Democratic leader and was elected to her current Senate seat in a Special Election in 2017 and reelected in 2018. She serves as vice chair of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and is a respected statewide champion for voting rights.
Taddeo was also chosen by former Gov. Charlie Crist to be his Lieutenant Governor running mate back in 2014.
“Before Darden was elected to City Council, she worked on behalf of the residents and small business owners of Florida to hold BP oil company accountable for polluting our beaches,” Taddeo said in a statement. “As she wraps up eight years on Council marked by bold action to improve the lives of working families in St. Petersburg, I am excited to endorse her campaign for Mayor. I know her love for her city and our state will lead to good policies and good government.”
Taddeo joins Rep. Anna Eskamani as another statewide Democrat supporting Rice’s mayoral campaign. Eskamani announced her endorsement last week.
“Senator Taddeo is a strong, necessary voice for transparency and accountability in the Florida Senate that benefits her constituents and all Floridians,” Rice said in a statement. “I deeply appreciate her work on protecting the freedom to vote throughout the state, and I am honored to have her endorsement in my race for Mayor of St. Petersburg.”
Several organizations have also announced support for Rice, including Equality Florida Action PAC, the LGBTQ Victory Fund and LPAC.
If elected, Rice would become the first openly LGBTQ person to lead St. Pete, and the second LGBTQ woman leading a major city in the Southern U.S. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is the other.
Rice also received an endorsement from Ruth’s List Florida, which works to elect Democratic women to office, and Roadmap for Progress.
Rice officially entered the race for Mayor in January. She faces former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, as well as former City Council colleague and former Rep. Wengay Newton.
She will also face Republican colleague Robert Blackmon, who filed to run Tuesday.
Realtor Vincent Nowicki, St. Pete College student Michael Ingram and business owner Marcile Powers are also in the race.
The candidates are running to succeed current Mayor Rick Kriseman who is leaving office because of term limits. The municipal Primary Election is Aug. 24. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to the General Election Nov. 2.